Sunday, October 19, 2008

Une Godard est une Godard

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and geriatrics: I officially love Jean-Luc Godard now. I know, right? But let me explain.

I first saw Band of Outsiders, which I think I would've really loved it if the Criterion DVD's sound quality was just a tad... less buzzy. Then I saw Breathless, his most famous work, which, despite it being a great film that I loved, I wasn't like in love with it, ya know? So I had two passive OMGs with his films. To be honest, I've almost become obsessed with him the last couple of weeks, and I'm not sure why. Like, I've been going through his filmography and noting which I'm most interested in - Pierrot Le Fou, Masculin Féminin and La Chinoise most of all - and even planning a festival-like schedule of them!? But then I forsook that and bumped A Woman is a Woman up my queue, because it was such a random thing to do at the time and I liked the cover art. Or maybe because I read that it's a musical romantic comedy, and that kind of freaked me out in a good way.

Rambly story short, this morning I watched it. And now I can say I completely fell in love with a film by Jean-Luc Godard. Yay!

I cannot say the film was what I expected, like at all, but from the second it started I was freaking smitten. It immediately jumps through all sorts of its styles and themes in ways only Godard could do them: like a basket of colorful, promiscuous, lovesick puppies running from responsibility. Like, honestly. Though it could sometimes be randomly melodramatic, the giddy effervescence it charges through your brain is well worth any little lapse in sense. The plot is simple - Angela (Anna Karina) wants to get pregnant, but her boyfriend Émile (Jean-Claude Brialy) doesn't share the same ambition, and his friend Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is also in love with Angela, which is pretty much it. Godard really gets fanciful with the visuals, as he usually does. But the way the colors burn the screen! WOWZA! Michel Legrand's fantastic score is also a major highlight, especially considering it's active for most of the film and a very defining aspect. Karina pulls off a performance of arguable grace, but her skill and worth are undeniable. She was seriously the epitome of love throughout it. Brialy and Belmondo were also fun and lively, and totally hot as well. They all worked so well together, and especially in Godard's abstractions and pre-moi randomness. That could be why I love him so much now, because he really is a very random filmmaker. Despite any subject matter he's trying to convey, his films always come out random and jittery. Not that that's a bad thing - quite the opposite. I mean, we're talking about me here.

I wish it went on forever, instead of only 84 minutes. That's way too little time to spend with something this wonderful. *sigh*

VD Grade: ★★★★★


RJ said...

You don't need to see 'La Chinoise'. It is not good.

It's one of those Godard movies that's basically just a political tract. No plot. No real investment in the characters.

Dame James Henry said...

Really? That's a shame. I saw a couple of clips on Youtube and thought it looked really fascinating (and kinda funny).

I have had a rocky relationship with Godard since I fell in love with Breathless. Really liked Band of Outsiders, Week End gave me a headache, but that was the point, and was brilliant up until Godard just gave random people random political monologues that went on for forever and I didn't understand Pierrot le Fou at all. But now I really wanna see A Woman is a Woman after this ecstatic review!

the misomaniac said...

good call on this one. godard's films are fabulous.

masculin/feminin isnt for everybody, but i fucking love that film. so WATCH IT!!!!!!!

Moonraker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RJ said...

"and was brilliant up until Godard just gave random people random political monologues that went on for forever"

That's the entire running time of La Chinoise

J.D. said...

But the whole over-political downfall of his career in the late '60s intrigues more than anything? I'm not there yet, obviously, so maybe that's why I'm not groaning about it. But I'd rather learn about it from the films themselves (and TBH, I think there's a good chance I'll love them anyways). So I still really want to see La Chinoise. And James, that's somewhat your fault for posting that clip on your blog, LOL.

nick plowman said...

I need to see “A Woman is a Woman” and like most stuff he’s done in the past. So we can take the Godard journey at the same time JD, how awesome.

J.D. said...

Yes! Like, seriously, hot.

MovieMan0283 said...

You should definitely see La Chinoise. By my way of thinking to call it a bunch of political tracts is like calling Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon a picture of a bunch of hookers. It's all in the presentation.

I was going to say you'll have trouble seeing La Chinoise, since it's not on American DVD, but lo and behold it's now on Netflix so go for it (I had to go for an Australian DVD or some such).